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Interacting With a Public Website


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All,

First off, this really isn't a Filemaker question, it's more of a general web question.

I'm working on an FM database for a real estate agent and one of the things I would like her to be able to do it look up some county property information from the county's website:

http://www16.co.hennepin.mn.us/pins/addrsrch.jsp

Ideally I would llke to be able to have her push a button in FM and the have the information passed to the county website and execute the search based on house number and street name. If that is not possible without plugins I would settle for just having the two fields on the webpage automatically filled in and the agent could press the search button herself.

I tried passing the info from FM in a url like this:

http://www16.co.hennepin.mn.us/pins/addrsrch.jsp?house=1234&street=Main

I was hoping that the fields would populate but no luck.  Any ideas?

 

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Unfortunately, it looks like the search form uses the POST method, which doesn't allow the search criteria to be added in the URL

The Street Number field is actually called INPUT1 and the Street Name field is INPUT3, but building a URL like http://www16.co.hennepin.mn.us/pins/addrresult.jsp?INPUT1=12&INPUT3=28th

causes an error - they don't want people to be able to automate searches into their database....

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11 hours ago, OlgerDiekstra said:

Interesting. I didn't even try that, I just assumed it wouldn't work because the parameters are not passed in the URL when you submit the form manually but you're right. It works like a charm.

Thanks Olger!

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11 hours ago, Ted S said:

Interesting. I didn't even try that, I just assumed it wouldn't work because the parameters are not passed in the URL when you submit the form manually but you're right. It works like a charm.

Thanks Olger!

This article: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Guide/HTML/Forms/Sending_and_retrieving_form_data does a decent job of explaining the differences between a GET and POST. When a form is POSTed, the parameters are never included in the url. You would only ever specify the script to call. If properly written (at the server side) they should also only retrieve data from a POST, not from a GET. But there might be other functionality that uses this in a similar way on this particular website.

This is also why client side data checks/validation is only really useful to minimize data traffic (ie, forms don't get submitted back and forth until the user types the data in the right formats). It's too easy to bypass local validation, so you have to validate every bit of data coming from a client on the server as well.

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